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Nikkei climbs after US rate fears ease

Written by: Staff

TOKYO, Apr 19: The Nikkei average climbed 1.21 percent on Wednesday as shares of Sony Corp. and other exporters rose after U.S. stocks posted their biggest gains in a year on expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve may soon halt raising interest rates.

Shares of Fujitsu Ltd. rose 3.3 percent to 986 yen, after the chips-to-computers conglomerate said it was likely beat its profit target for the year ended last month by nearly 40 percent.

Minutes from the Fed's latest meeting suggested that most participants saw the Fed's long tightening cycle coming to an end, and that some members were concerned about tightening too much.

Such signals came as a positive surprise to the Tokyo stock market, which has been concerned about higher interest rates in the key U.S. market, said Katsuhiko Kodama, senior strategist at Toyo Securities Co Ltd.

''I don't think the market was expecting this.... Now it looks like many investors are expecting just one more interest rate rise, in May.'' The Nikkei was up 209.30 points at 17,442.16 as of 0054 GMT.

The broader TOPIX index was up 1.20 percent at 1,762.67.

Sony Corp. gained 2.5 percent to 5,810 yen.

Insurer Millea Holdings Inc. rose 2.6 percent to 2.41 million yen after the Nihon Keizai business daily reported that Millea unit Tokio Marine&Nichido Fire Insurance Co. was likely to buy a Singapore-based insurer.


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